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Livestock- Fishery 
Interaction Studies 



OTTER CREEK, U 


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1981 




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LIVESTOCK-FISHERY INTERACTION STUDIES 
OTTER CREEK, UTAH 



Progress Report 2 to the USDI Bureau of Land Management, 
Salt Lake City, Utah 



April, 1980 to June, 1981 



William S. Platts 
Rodger Loren Nelson 



BLM Library 
Denver Federal Center 
Bldg. 50, OC-521 
P.O. Box 25047 
Denver, CO 80225 



USDA, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, 
Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Boise, Idaho 



ABSTRACT 



Otter Creek was bound to be a difficult system to characterize due 
to inherent differences in vegetation between study sites, to fisheries 
management, and to ground water and surface water exchange phenomena. 

The treatment area (site 1] was observed to be vegetationally and 
geomorphically quite different than the two upstream sites, but these 
differences are probably due to inherent differences in channel struc- 
ture. Fish population analysis results are confounded by the stocking 
of hatchery reared fish and the apparently minimal amount of natural 
reproduction. Little can yet be attributed directly to experimental 
manipulation, except that willow is already beginning to reestablish 
itself within the treatment area. Suggestions regarding future work are 
presented for BLM consideration. 



1 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 



This report comprises information gleaned from a variety of sources, 
all of which are listed at the end. Most of the specific information 
regarding the history and condition of the South Narrows Allotment was 
distilled from materials supplied by David Young, Fisheries Biologist, 
USDI, Bureau of Land Management, Sevier River Resource Area, Richfield, 
Utah. In an effort to keep abundant, unwieldy referencing to a minimum, 
information from these sources is cited only when deemed necessary by 
the authors. Additional appreciation is extended to Gerry Ferringer, 
State Fishery Biologist, USDI, BLM, Salt Lake City, Utah for. his efforts 
in coordinating this study; to Arthur H. Holmgren, Cooperative Extension 
Service and Utah State University Herbarium, Utah State University , 

Logan, Utah, for the identification of vegetation collected along Otter 
Creek; and to Dale Hepworth, Regional Fishery Biologist, Utah Division 
of Wildlife Resources, Southern Regional Office, Cedar City, Utah, for 
assistance with fish collection on Otter Creek. 



n 



PREFACE 



This is the second in a series of progress reports that present the 
findings of the OtteT Creek, Utah, Livestock-Fishery Interaction Studies, 
and is intended to supplement Progress Report 1 (Tlatts, Nelson, and 
Martin 1980) . We have included sufficient background information in 
this report to produce a self-supporting document, and to provide a 
comparison of results from the two years of study so far completed; the 
reader may, however, wish to refer to Progress Report 1 for an inde- 
pendent presentation of the 1979 results. 



iii 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Abstract 1 

Acknowledgement 11 

Preface 111 

Introduction 1 

Study Area Description • 4 

Physiography 4 

Vegetation 8 

Climate 6 

Fisheries 6 

Otter Creek Aquatic Habitat Management Area 6 

The Situation 8 

Range Habitat 8 

Riparian Habitat 9 

Management Considerations 9 

Grazing Patterns H 

History 11 

Present and Future Trends 12 

Methods I 8 

General I 8 

Geomorphic/ Aquatic Analysis I? 

Riparian Analysis 18 

Vegetation Analysis 21 

Streamside Herbage Analysis 21 

Fish Population Analysis 21 

Water Quality Analysis 21 

Hydraulic and Channel Geometry 23 

Results and Discussion 23 

Geomorphic/ Aquatic Analysis 23 

Riparian Analysis 26 

Vegetation Analysis 26 

Streamside Herbage Analysis 29 

Fish Population Analysis 31 

Water Quality Analysis 31 

Hydraulic and Channel Geometry 31 

Conclusions 84 

Publications Cited 35 

Selected References 



IV 



INTRODUCTION 



There are 1.9 billion acres of land in the 48 conterminous United 
States, of which some 1.2 billion (63 percent) are rangelands, 69 
percent of which, as of 1970, was grazed by domestic livestock. In the 
western United States, most of these rangelands are public lands admin- 
istered by federal agencies. In Utah, for example, 66 percent of the 
state is federally owned and of this some 24 million acr^s (43 percent) 
administered by the USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM)— . 

Many streams of various sizes traverse this vast area, but despite 
their prevalence (Utah, for example, has some 2500 miles of streams on 
BLM land) they represent relatively little acreage. These streams, 
together with their adjacent riparian zones, contribute significantly to 
the productivity of the range, especially in arid and semi-arid regions, 
and present unique problems in multiple-use management. Unfortunately, 
this fact has only recently become widely appreciated and streams and 
riparian zones have frequently been ignored in rangeland planning and 
management in the past, a situation due largely due to their small 
relative size. 

The various classes of livestock utilize the range in different 
ways, necessitating different management practices to increase the 
compatibility of grazing with riparian and aquatic habitat. Cattle, for 
example, usually congregate on lesser slopes and bottomlands, while 
sheep, which are less dependent on water (Stoddert and Smith 1955), 
usually favor steeper slopes and upland areas. Since sheep are also 
usually herded and cattle generally are not, management techniques to 
keep watersheds from being seriously altered differ between these two 
classes of livestock. The more commonly used cattle management strategies 
are suspected' to be less congenial than those used with sheep and are 
therefore the focus of this study. 

Since the riparian zone, which forms the interface between the 
aquatic and the dryer terrestrial range ecosystems, is disproportionately 
important to both systems, application of effective management techniques 
is critical. Because of soil moisture, soil fertility, and related 
factors, the riparian ecosystem is more productive than the drier upland 
range, and its vegetation is generally more desirable. Coupled with 
this are other riparian features, such as gentler terrain, shade, and 
drinking water, which add to the attractiveness of this habitat to 
cattle and lead to preferential use. 

The riparian zone also provides crucial fishery habitat components 
which are largely determined by streamside vegetation. Overhanging 
vegetation and undercut streambanks aTe an important source of protective 



— ^Duff, D. 1980. Personal correspondence. USDI, Bureau of Land Manage- 
ment, Utah State Office, Salt Lake City, Utah. 



1 



cover, food, and shade. Shading prevents water temperatures from rising 
or fluctuating drastically, which can lead to shifts in species compo- 
sition from salmonids to more tolerant species of non-game fish (Platts 
1980). In addition, detritus formed from terrestrial plants is a prin- 
cipal source of food for aquatic invertebrates and ultimately fish 
(Minshall 1967) . Streamside vegetation also serves as a barrier to 
terrestrial pollutants and controls water velocity and streambank erosion 
Since these features are all susceptible to alteration by grazing animals 
the needs of the resident fishery and the stockman can conflict. 

Presently, there is an unfortunate dearth of factual information 
regarding the impacts of livestock grazing on riparian and aquatic 
ecosystems. As yet, only limited research has been directed toward 
lessening these impacts, though the constant increase in range use by 
cattle since the late 1800's has generally degraded rangelands and led 
to altered riparian habitats (Platts 1978) . The resulting controversy 
surrounding the use of public rangelands by livestock and potential 
conflicts with fishery needs has led to the emergence of livestock 
management as a national environmental issue (Leopold 1975, Platts 
1978). 

Working in this information vacuum, fisheries biologists have 
intuitively hypothesized that grazing of the riparian zone can signif- 
icantly alter a fishery. Such alteration is believed to occur through 
physical modification of key stream features. Such changes as increased 
channel breadth, decreased depth and pool-riffle ratio, loss of vege- 
tative and structural cover, accelerated bank erosion, channel sedi- 
mentation, and increased water temperature, are expected to alter the 
character of the fishery. These changes however, have yet to be suf- 
ficiently evaluated and identified for routine inclusion in management 
strategies. Additional studies that will provide solutions to these 
potential problems need to be conducted (Meehan and Platts 1978, Platts 
1978) . 

Against this background of limited information, it should come as 
no surprise that little help can be given the land manager in deter- 
mining alternate strategies in situations where livestock are known to 
be exerting undue stress on the fishery. Valid analytical techniques 
for assessing the magnitude of livestock impacts have yet to be fully 
developed. Without these tools, it is difficult to determine whether 
changes in grazing patterns are indicated and, if so, what strategies 
should be implemented. 

The Otter Creek study is part of a comprehensive program to develop 
and test an array of field techniques which, when coupled with com- 
puterized analysis, will accurately identify the complex interactions 
that occur between different grazing intensities, management strategies, 
classes of livestock, and fisheries. Studies are currently being 
conducted on eleven sites in Idaho, two sites in Nevada, and two sites 
in Utah (Figure 1) . The Idaho studies monitor impacts to streams in 
moist, forested, high mountain meadows, while the Utaft and Nevada 



2 



IDAHO BATHOLITH 




1 Lower Stolle 

2 Cougar Stolle 

3 Guard Stolle 

4 Upper Stolle 

5 Johnson Creek 

6 Elk Creek 

7 Lower Bear Valley 

8 Upper Bear Valley 

9 Lower Frenchman Creek 

10 Upper Frenchman Creek 

11 Horton Creek 

HUMBOLDT RIVER BASIN 

12 Gance Creek 

13 Tabor Creek 

BONNEVILLE BASIN 

14 Big Creek 

15 Otter Creek 



Figure 1. Distribution of livestock-fishery study areas. 



studies monitor impacts to streams in the more arid, sagebrush- type 
meadows. These studies are structured to allow time-trend analysis of 
livestock impacts on streams on public multiple-use lands in order to 
help the land manager select grazing systems that are as compatible as 
possible with fishery needs. 

This progress report deals exclusively with the Otter Creek, Utah, 
study which has the following objectives: 

1. Determine the rehabilitation potential of Otter Creek based 
on past, present, and future use strategies. 

2. Evaluate the efficacy of excluding livestock from the 

Otter Creek riparian zone by studying protected habitat within 
fenced exclosures. 

3. Evaluate the continuous grazing system currently in use on 
the South Narrows Allotment. 

4. Evaluate the effects on the riparian /aquatic and fisheries 
habitat of the alternate-year grazing system to be used in the 
upper Otter Creek exclosure. 

5. Make recommendations as to the optimum grazing strategies 
relative to use and protection of the riparian zone. 



STUDY AREA DESCRIPTION 



Physiography 

A meandering, low gradient stream. Otter Creek heads in the Fish- 
lake Mountains of central Utah and flows southward through Grass Valley 
to empty into Otter Creek Reservoir at Angle, Utah. Otter Creek Res- 
ervoir, in turn, empties into the East Fork of the Sevier River, which 
joins the Sevier River flowing northward through Richfield, Utah before 
ultimately turning southwestward into the Sevier Desert and the Sevier 
Lake playa, remnants of ancient Lake Bonneville. 

Grass Valley is a picturesque valley in Sevier and Piute Counties, 
flanked by two high plateaus: the Sevier Plateau on the west and the 

Parker Range, part of the Awapa Plateau, on the east. This is Utah's 
high plateau country, a structurally and ecologically complex region. 

The valley itself is a gentle southsloping depression caused by the 
uplifting of the Sevier and Awapa Plateaus; this accounts for the 
variable relief of the area, especially notable in the dramatic escarp- 
ment of the Parker Front. 

Physiographically, the high plateaus represent the westernmost edge 
of the Colorado Plateau Province, which takes its name from the table- 
lands surrounding the middle Colorado River. This is a transition zone 



4 



between the Colorado Plateau and the vast Basin and Range Province to 
the west. As in the Basin and Range Province, the mountain ranges are 
generally linear and aligned in a north- south direction; a result of the 
uplifting of fault-blocks. Like the Colorado Plateau, however, the 
mountains are folded and in the form of plateaus. 

Vegetation 

Ecologically, the high plateaus also show the intergradation of 
different regions. This is particularly evident in Grass Valley, which, 
employing the classification system of Bailey 01978), represents a 
transitional area between three separate ecoregions. Specifically, 

Grass Valley, at an elevation of approximately 6500 feet, is a low lying 
area in the southwestemmost extension of the Rocky Mountain Forest 
Province, but is separated from the main body of the Colorado Plateau 
Province only by a depression in the Awapa Plateau between the Parker 
Range and the Fishlake Mountains, and is continuous with the Great Basin 
and the expansive InteTmountain Sagebrush Province by way of the Sevier 
River. As a result, ecological influences of these three ecoregions are 
apparent . 

Characteristic of the Rocky Mountain Forest Province, vegetation on 
the plateaus exhibits marked altitudinal zonation. Highland areas, 
where precipitation is abundant, are dominated by forest, grading into 
pinyon- juniper woodland on mid-elevation slopes. On the South Narrows 
Allotment, this pinyon- juniper vegetation type accounts for 46 percent 
of the vegetation, while the big sagebrush type, which dominates the 
gently inclined benches surrounding Otter Creek, accounts for 45 percent 
of the vegetation; grassland accounts for only two percent of the 
vegetation on the allotment QJSDI 1968) . 

The fact that grassland comprises only two percent of the total 
vegetation does not mean that grasses are scarce, however, as blue-grama 
(Bouteloua gracilis) is a major understory component in both the pinyon- 
juniper and big sagebrush types, and accounts for 43 percent of the 
grass population;— this hardy perennial grass is a sod-forming, warm- 
season species that is well adapated to grazing. Together with big 
sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata) , these two species are known as the 
sagebrush-blue gTama association, a characteristic association of the 
cold desert biome which includes both the Great Basin and the Colorado 
Plateau. The abundance of these plants relative to more desirable 
forage species may be a result of historic grazing patterns, a point 
which will be developed later. 



Young, D. 1980. 
published report. 
Richfield, Utah. 



Brief history of the South Narrows Allotment. Un- 
USDI, Bur. Land Manage., Sevier River Res. Area, 



5 



Nearer the stream and including the riparian zone, soil moisture 
increases, as do accumulated salts, and shrubs and grasses representa- 
tive of the Great Basin begin to appear. .Such, salt and alkali tolerant 
shrubs as greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus ) , an indicator of saline 
or alkaline conditions, rabbitbrush CChrgsothamnus nauseosus) , and 
fourwing saltbrush (Atriplex canescens) , a desirable browse species, 
gain prominence. Understory grasses in this area include such salt and 
alkali tolerant species as saltgrass CDistichlis stricta) , alkali 
sacaton (Sporobolus auroides) and Indian ricegrass (Orgzopsis hgmenoides ) . 
Interspersed among these on the less saline or alkaline sites are redtop 
(Agrostis alba) and needle-and- thread (Stipa comata) , accompanied by an 
assortment of sedges [Carex spp ) and rushes (Juncus spp) . 

Climate 

Climatic conditions along Otter Creek are highly variable. Maximum 
summer temperatures can be as high as 105 F (41 C) with winter minimum 
temperatures sometimes reaching -20 F (-30 C) . Annual precipitation 
averages about 9 inches, and ranges from a high of nearly twelve inches 
to a low of less than five inches. Relatively mild, low snowfall 
winters make the region suitable for use as winter and spring range. 

Fisheries 



Otter Creek experiences considerable recreational fishing pressure. 
In 1969 the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources treated the stream to 
eliminate non-game fish so that salmonids subsequently stocked would 
experience reduced interspecific competition. The stream was then 
stocked with brown trout (Salmo trutta) , rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) , 
and eastern brook charr (Salvalinus fontinalis) . In addition, in 1976 
the USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM) constructed four subsurface 
gabions to improve the fishery by creating pools. Otter Creek supports 
only limited natural reproduction, however, so the stream is managed as 
a put-and-take fishery to provide recreation above what the stream is 
capable of producing naturally. 

Otter Creek Aquatic Habitat Management Area 

The Otter Creek Aquatic Habitat Management Area (AHMA) is a small 
section of Otter Creek below Grass Valley, approximately midway between 
the towns of Greenwich and Angle on Utah Highway 62 in Piute County. 

The AHMA lies wholly within the South Narrows Allotment (Figure 2), 

12,588 acres of public land and 2,000 acres of state and private in- 
holdings administered by the BLM as part of the Piute Planning Unit. 

Four permittees presently use the allotment as winter and spring range 
for cattle and sheep. The sheep chiefly graze the higher ground below 
the Parker Mountains, whereas cattle are largely restricted to the 
stream bottomlands (USDI 1979) . Three fenced exclosures have been 
constructed by the BLM along selected reaches of Otter Creek to allow 
manipulation of grazing pressure on the riparian zone. 




/ 



THE SITUATION 



Range Habitat 

The land surrounding Otter Creek is semi-arid shrubsteppe typical 
of the cold desert biome. The terrain ranges from high mountains and 
plateaus through sloping benchlands to stream bottomlands. As is 
generally the case in ecosystems controlled by abiotic conditions, the 
plant and animal communities of the region are relatively simple and 
dominated by a few abundant and well-adapted species. In this case, the 
moderately sloping uplands support an almost uniform stand of big sage- 
brush, a woody shrub of relatively little value to livestock. Among 
these densely packed shrubs is an understory of grasses, particularly 
blue grama which bespeaks influence of the short grass prairies to the 
east. These two species comprise approximately 93 percent of the 
vegetation of the South Narrows Allotment— and together are known as 
the sagebrush-blue grama association. 

The local vegetation is basically that of Kuchler's (1964) Great 
Basin Sagebrush type which is characterised by an abundance of woody 
shrubs, particularly sagebrush. Sagebrush may not be the natural 
dominant, however, as considerable evidence points to grazing-induced 
vegetation shifts being the cause of its present dominance over much of 
the western range (Bailey 1978; Christensen 1963; Christensen and 
Johnson 1964; Stoddart 1941; Stoddart and Smith 1955; USDA 1936). The 
climax vegetation may, in fact, naturally be dominated by palatable 
grasses such as bluebunch wheatgrass, which the BLM considers a key 
forage species in the Grass Valley area (USDI 1968). Stoddart (J941) 
describes Palouse-type grasslands dominated by bluebunch wheatgrass as 
far south as Cache Valley, Utah, while Christensen (1963) in observa- 
tions of relict stands of native grass in Central Utah, found wheatgrass 
dominated communities as far south as Sevier County. In his report, 
Christensen states that in situations where the bunchgrasses have been 
protected from grazing, sagebrush is rarely the dominant species. 
Presently, bluebunch wheatgrass is found only in trace quantities on the 
South Narrows Allotment (USDI 1968). 

Sagebrush is, of course, undoubtedly an important component of the 
climax range vegetation, and may even be the natural dominant on certain 
sites; but it is likely that much of this area would be grassland without 
historic overgrazing. The climax vegetation of an area can be expected 
to be better adapted to ambient conditions than other associations, but 
with disturbance another species composition may be favored. Thus, with 
selective grazing on the palatable bunchgrasses, the successional sequence 
may be disrupted so that sagebrush and less palatable grasses, such as 



— Young, D. 1980. Brief history of the South Narrows Allotment. Un- 
published report. USDI, Bur. Land Manage., Sevier River Res. Area, 
Richfield, Utah. 



8 



blue grama, become dominant. In areas with a history of inappropriate 
grazing practices, such as overuse and use during critical periods in 
plant development, such shifts towards dominance by undesireable species 
can be expected. The quality of the range thus deterioriates in re- 
sponse to grazing pressure and the big sagebrush vegetation type is 
maintained as a grazing disclimax. 

In order to control such retrogressive succession, various manage- 
ment techniques have been devised. These include herbicide applications 
and burning to reduce brush, as well as various pasturing techniques to 
selectively reduce grazing pressure. 

Riparian Habitat 

Nearer the stream greasewood is common, suggesting a soil alka- 
linity similar to the Great Basin to the west. Sagebrush remains 
plentiful on the stream banks, occasionally overhanging the stream and 
providing some cover for fish. Grasses are also abundant, many of them 
tolerant of alkaline to saline conditions, such as alkali sacaton, which 
can form a relatively good sod on the streambanks . Willow [Salix sp.}, 
which should exist under pristine conditions, is conspicuously absent, 
though it is beginning to reappear in the ungrazed study site (see also 
the "Results" section of this report) . 

Along Otter Creek, as is common along rangeland streams in the 
intermountain region, the riparian zone is generally narrow, with 
sagebrush growing down to and even overhanging the streamhanks. Where 
the riparian zone does occur, it is extremely attractive to and heavily 
used by range cattle, which congregate in this relatively lush ecosystem 
(USDI 1979); the streambanks consequently present a highly altered, 
sloped appearance. In view of the preceeding discussion of grazing- 
induced retrogressive succession, it is reasonable to expect parallel 
shifts in riparian vegetation, a thesis which is supported by the 
replacement of palatable saltgrass by the less desirable sedges and 
rushes; the presence of thistle, an invader; and the conspicuous absence 
of willow, which would be expected in the absence of disturbance. These 
shifts are important because not all plants provide equal cover and food 
for fish, nor do they all stabilize streambanks equally. 

Management Considerations 

The preceding discussion brings up the question of management. 

There are basically five principal systems of management used to control 
the forage use and livestock distribution on the range. These systems 
are continuous (or seasonal) grazing, rotation grazing, deferred grazing, 
deferred rotation grazing, and rest-rotation grazing (Meehan and Platts 
1978). These commonly used systems are designed to increase plant vigor 
and thereby help rangelands recover from historical abuse. Their 
effectiveness in promoting the rehabilitation of riparian habitat, 
however, needs clarification. 



9 



Continuous grating has historically been the system used on the 
South Narrows Allotment and consists of stocking in the winter and 
removing the animals in early summer. It is almost a no-management 
system, except that the timing of stocking and removal can be mani- 
pulated so as to avoid critical developmental stages of the forage 
plants. Nevertheless, it is often an inadequate system, as noted by 
Hormay (1970) who states that, under continuous grazing at any stocking 
level, the more palatable and accessible plants will be killed or 
eliminated. 

Another common grazing system is rest-rotation grazing which will 
be used in a modified form in the middle and upper- exclosures . This 
system divides the range into pastures which are then systematically 
grazed and rested with the amount of rest being determined by the 
phenology of the plants involved (Hormay 1970). If correctly applied, 
this system can help restore the vigor of range plants, but whether it 
can benefit riparian vegetation is still open to question; there are, in 
fact, indications that it cannot help rehabilitate abused riparian 
habitat. Meehan and Platts (1978) suggest that this system may be 
harmful to riparian ecosystems because of an increased potential for 
livestock movement through and use of the riparian zone. A study by 
Starostka — on Seven-Mile Creek, Utah, suggests that not only may 
riparian habitats not be improved under rest-rotation grazing, but that 
increased production of riparian vegetation following a year of rest may 
even increase the attractiveness of this zone to cattle. This could 
accelerate deterioration since structural damage does not recover as 
rapidly as vegetation, nor do all plant species recover at the same 
rate. Duff (197S) found that woody vegetation along Big Creek in north- 
eastern Utah recovered more slowly than grasses, and that only six weeks 
of grazing were required to return riparian habitat which had been 
rested for four years within a grazing-protected area to pre-rest con- 
ditions. Thus, it would appear that rest-rotation grazing may be 
beneficial to range forage but not for riparian vegetation, and if 
rehabilitation of the riparian zone is the desired object of management, 
systems involving long periods of rest may be required. These questions 
can only be answered with research. 

The three other systems either defer grazing for parts of the 
season or are combinations of seasonal deferment and rest. To date, 
none have clearly been shown to be effective in helping riparian vege- 
tation recover, though some may be more helpful than others. Only one 
strategy clearly stands out as being useful in riparian recovery: complete 



Starostka, Victor J. (n.d.) Some effects of rest rotation grazing on 
the aquatic habitat of Seven Mile Creek, Utah. (Unpublished report on 
file with USDA, Forest Service, Richfield, Utah.) 



10 



rest. This can be accomplished by fencing and is being used by the BLM 
on some stream reaches of the South Narrows Allotment. This cannot be 
the final solution, but must be a consideration if high quality riparian 
habitat is to be conserved. The answer to this vexing problem should 
become clearer as this study progresses, as it will monitor three 
different grazing systems: fenced non-grazed as in the lower exclosure, 

a modified rest-rotation system (alternate year grazing) on the middle 
site, and continous grazing on the upstream control site. 



GRAZING PATTERNS 



History 



Utah, along with Nevada, became part of the United States in 1848, 
acquired from Mexico by way of the peace treaty that ended the Mexican- 
American War. It was not until 1873, however, that settlers began to 
arrive in the Grass Valley area, and by 1911, when the town of Koosharem 
was incorporated, the pioneer population of the valley had grown to only 
550 persons. 

The very name "Grass Valley" suggests that an abundance of grass 
greeted the first settlers, but the type of grass in question is un- 
certain. Possibly, Great Basin wildrye (Elymus cinereus) was common 
here as it was on many dry bottomlands of the Intermountain west (Cronquist 
and others 1977) , or perhaps it was bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron 
spicatum) . The work of Christensen (1963) documents wheatgrass dominated 
grassland associations as far south as Sevier County. Neither of these 
grasses is common any longer, though trace amounts of wildrye have been 
reported along Otter Creek— and the Otter Creek AHMP indicates that 
wheatgrass is still a component of the range vegetation, though present 
in only trace quantities. Whatever the grass that inspired the naming 
of Grass Valley, its abundance undoubtedly provided good forage for 
livestock moving in with the early settlers. 

During this early period of expansion into and settlement of the 
West, grazing was not officially regulated and use levels were left to 
the stockman's discretion. As a result, overgrazing of western range- 
lands became a serious problem. In order to ameliorate the problem of 
deteriorating range conditions, Congress, in 1934, passed the Taylor 
Grazing Act which created the Grazing Service of the Department of the 
Interior to regulate grazing on public lands; in 1946 the Grazing 
Service was combined with the General Land Office, and the BLM was born. 

The South Narrows Allotment, with which this report is chiefly 
concerned, was originally part of one of two divisions of the Parker 
Mountain Unit as established by the Grazing Service. E. Merril Bagley 



— Young, D. 1980. Brief history of the South Narrows Allotment. Un- 
published report. USDI, Bur. Land Manage., Sevier River Res. Area, 
Richfield, Utah. 



11 



became a livestock operator in Grass Valley at this time, and remains a 
principal operator on the South Narrows Allotment to this day. The 
original division boundaries were readjudicated in 1958, and established 
a new division called the Koosharem Division, which comprised eight 
grazing allotments; one of which was the South Narrows Allotment. 

Initially, grazing use in the Parker Mountain unit was set at 5832 
animal unit months (AUM's). On the basis of a 1956 range survey, use 
for this area was reduced by 33 percent in 1960 to 3840 AUM's; the South 
Narrows Allotment was allocated 805 of these, for use either by cattle 
or sheep. Adjudicated use was further reduced in 1968 to ^6 AUM's when 
one of the permittees converted some sheep AUM's to cattle — . 

Historically, the South Narrows Allotment has been managed under a 
continuous grazing system, which allows for season-long use of preferred 
areas and preferred vegetation. As a result, range conditions declined 
to the point where, in 1968, the BLM considered initiating a two-pasture 
deferred system to alternately rest each pasture early in the season, 
and to limit utilization to 35 percent on spring range and 75 percent on 
winter range (USDI 1968). This system was not implemented, buy, as of 
1977, the overall range trend has apparently remained stable.— The 
vegetation trend in the riparian zone is less clear, but concern over 
this area and a desire to improve fish and wildlife habitat have led the 
BLM to propose the strategies contained in the Otter Creek AHMP . 

Present and Future Trends 

In order to improve conditions for wildlife and fish, experimental 
manipulation of grazing in the riparian zone has been proposed for the 
Otter Creek AHMA. Three fenced livestock exclosures were constructed 
prior to the 1979 season along selected reaches of Otter Creek, and have 
been designated as the lower, middle, and upper exclosures (Figure 3). 

The lower exclosure will receive complete rest, allowing study of riparian 
rehabilitation under this system, and, beginning with the upper exclosure 
in 1979, the two upstream pastures will be grazed during alternate years 
under a modified rest-rotation system. The remainder of the South 
Narrows Allotment will continue under the current management system at 
706 dual AUM's, which is well below the estimated (USDI 1968) 847 AUM's 
of available forage. 

Table 1 summarizes management from 1975 on the South Narrows 
Allotment and the AHMA and predicts some parameters for 1980 based on 
the Otter Creek AHMP. 



— Because the allotment is more suitable for sheep than cattle, con- 
version is done on the basis of 8.75 to one in the case of conversion lo 
cattle, and one to 5 in the case of conversion to sheep (USDI 1968). 

- Likens, John. 1978. 1977 range trend evaluation. (Unpublished memo, 

USDI, BLM Memo 4115, U-503, Richfield, Utah.) 



12 




Figure 3. Otter Creek AHMA exclosures and locations of livestock-fishery study sites. 



15 



I 



Table 1.— South Narrows Allotment and Otter Creek Aquatic Habitat Management Area grazing management: 1975-1985. 





year!/ 








GRAZING PARAMETER 


1975 


1976 


1977 


1978 


1979 


1980 


1981 


1982 


1983 


1984 


1985 


Allotment Acreage 


12.588 


12,588 


12,588 


12,588 


12,588 


12,588 


12,588 


12,588 


12,588 


12,588 


12,588 


Overall Crazing 
Management System 


AWC?^ 


AUC 


AUC 


AUC 


AUC 


AUC 


AUC 


AUC 


AUC 


AUC 


AUC 


Grazing Cattle 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


12/1-3/10 

5/16-6/30 


Season 

Sheep 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


1/16-3/31 


Permitted 

Use Cattle 


281 


281 


281 


281 


281 


281 


281 


281 


281 


281 


281 


Intensity 

(aiim'b) 

Sheep 


425 


425 


425 


425 


425 


425 


425 


425 


425 


425 


425 


3/ 

Range-' 

Vegetation Overall 


ND 


ND 


ND 


ND 


ND 


Nl) 












Use 

Upper 

Exclosure 


N/A 


N/A 


N/A 


N/A 


52.5*/ 


Rested 




Scheduled 

Rest 








Cower 

Riparian Excloeure 


N/A 


N/A 


N/A 


N/A 


0 


0 












Vegetation 

Use Upper 

Exclosure 


N/A 


N/A 


N/A 


N/A 


0 


0 












Outside 

| Exclosure 


N/A 


N/A 


N/A 


N/A 


0 


oV 




- - ■ 









1./ 1980-L985 proposed. 

2/ Allotment-wide continuous. 

3/ No utilization data except 1979. 1968 Plan called 

for 751 on winter range. 



4/ Cattle removed 2/8/79. Davis, Vernon C. 1979. South Narrows 
_ Allotment, utilization north exclosure. (tlnpubl lslied , 11SDI 
B1.H Memo, 4115. U-503, Richfield, Utah). 

5/ This figure is probably duo to the time lapse between the grazing season and time 
— of observation, riparian analysis docs not effectively detect use. 8171 sources 
(l.ikens, 1980, IISOI BI.M Memo 4190, .1-503) indicate that use, based on the middle 
cxclosure, is about bl». 



METHODS 



General 



Ongoing studies are presently being conducted on a total of 15 
study sites, 11 in Idaho and two each in Nevada and Utah. These sites 
are generally in meadow environments on National Forest lands or lower 
elevation sagebrush type meadows on Bureau of Land Management lands. 

The purpose of these studies is to refine techniques for monitoring and 
assessing the impacts of domestic livestock grazing on riparian and 
aquatic ecosystems and to allow recommendations for improved management. 

The basic design of each study area is to stratify 1800 feet of 
stream by dividing it into 181 transects placed at 10-foot intervals 
along the stream. The study area is then subdivided into three 600-foot 
sections, with the middle section fenced to provide an area for manip- 
ulation and the up- and downstream sections serving as controls. 

Livestock are then either introduced to or excluded from the treatment 
area depending on the study site. Annual monitoring of each section 
then provides information on each relative to the others over the course 
of several seasons of use. 

On Otter Creek this design has been modified for consistency with 
the Otter Creek AHMP. The BLM has constructed three livestock exclo- 
sures along Otter Creek to allow for manipulation of grazing in the 
riparian zone. The exclosure farthest downstream (the lower exclosure) 
has been designated as the non-gTazed or treatment area and includes 
transects 1 through 61 at its upper end. The middle exclosure, which is 
not part of this study, and the exclosure immediately upstream, which is 
included, will be grazed during alternate years. Since continuous 
grazing is the current grazing system on the South Narrows Allotment and 
since this pasture will henceforth be rested every other year under the 
alternate year strategy, it is not a completely unmanipulated section; 
it will, however, serve as a control and contains transects 61 through 
122 at its upstream end. Immediately above the upper exclosure are 
transects 123 through 184 in the unfenced and unmanipulated section. 

Figure 3 shows the locations of the exclosures along Otter Creek and 
Figure 4 gives a schematic illustration of the locations of the transects. 

The data collected fall into four basic categories: 1) geomorphic/ 
aquatic, 2) riparian or streamside, 3) hydrologic, and 4) biological, 
and include the following: 

Geomorphic/Aquatic 

1. Substrate materials 

2. Substrate embeddedness 

3. Stream width and depth 

4. Bank- stream contact water depth 

5. Pool width, quality, and feature 

6. Riffle width 

7. Streambank angle 

8. Streambank undercut 

9. Fisheries environment quality rating 



15 





Figure 4. Schematic diagram of the Otter Creek livestock exclosures and 
the design of the Livestock-Fishery Interaction Study. 



16 



Riparian 



10. Streamside habitat type 

11. Streambank stability 

12. Overhanging vegetation 

13. Vegetation use (ocular and herbage meter) 

14. Streambank alteration (natural and artificial) 



Hydrologic 

15. Stream profile 

16. Stream gradient 

17. Stream velocity 



Biological 

18. Fish species composition, number, and biomass 



A brief description of the procedures used in this study follows. 
More detailed descriptions can be found in Morris and others (1976) , 
Neal and others (1976), Platts (1974), Platts (1976), and Ray and 
Megahan (1978). 

Geomorphic/Aquatic Analysis 

These measurements describe the structural characteristics of the 
stream being studied and can therefore be used to document changes that 
occur in the stream channel and along the stream bank when monitored 
over several grazing seasons. Geomorphic/aquatic measurements are 
analyzed statistically to determine means, variances, standard devia- 
tions, standard errors, 95 percent confidence intervals, student's t 
values, and F-values for each variable in each study site. 

Water Column 



Stream width is a horizontal measurement of that area of the 
transect covered by water. Stream depth is the average of four water 
depths measured at equal intervals across the transect from the water 
surface to the channel bottom. Water depth at the intersection of the 
streambank or stream channel with the edge of water is a direct mea- 
surement from water surface to channel bottom. Pools are classified as 
that area of water column usually deeper than riffles and slower in 
water velocity; riffle is the remainder of the column. Pool quality 
rating is based on the pool's ability to provide certain rearing re- 
quirements needed by fish, particularly size, depth, and cover, and is 
ranked from 1 (poor quality) to 5 (high quality) . 



17 



Streambanks 



The streambank angle is measured with a clinometer (figures 5 and 
6) which determines the downward slope of the streambank to the water. 
Streambank undercut is a direct horizontal measurement, parallel to the 
stream channel, of the erosion of the bank at the water influence area. 
Fisheries environment quality ratings depict the general ability of the 
bank-stream contact zone to provide the conditions believed necessary 
for high fish standing crops. This rating is a function of both stream 
characteristics at the bank (pool or riffle) and available cover, and is 
ranked from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) . 

Stream Channel 



Substrate materials are classified into five classes by visually 
projecting each one-foot division of a measuring tape to the streambed 
surface and assigning the major observed sediment class to each divi- 
sion. Sediments are classified as boulder, rubble, gravel, and fine 
sediment. Instream vegetative cover is a direct measurement of the 
vegetative cover on the channel intercepted by the transect. Stream 
channel substrate embeddedness measures the gasket effect of fine sedi- 
ment around the larger size substrate particles and is ranked from 1 
(highly embedded) to 5 (slightly embedded) . 

Riparian Analysis 

These measurements attempt to describe the riparian interface 
between the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Annual monitoring of 
these data after the grazing season illustrates changes in many critical 
fishery habitat parameters. These measurements are subjected to the 
same statisitcal analyses as the geomorphic/aquatic measurements. 

Streambank alteration assessment quantifies the natural and arti- 
ficial changes occurring to the streambank and is rated as percent 
alteration. Streamside cover categorizes the dominant vegetation as 
tree, brush, grass, or exposed (numerically ranked 1 to 4). Streamside 
cover stability rates the ability of the streambanks to resist erosion, 
with 1 being poor and 5 indicating high stability. Vegetative overhang 
(figures 7 and 8) directly measures the length of the vegetation over- 
hanging the water column within 12 inches of the water surface. Habitat 
rating is based on the belief that sand banks are of least importance to 
fish, while brush- sod banks are of the greatest value. Intermediate 
types are ranked accordingly by dominant and subdominant characters. 
Measurement of vegetation use is done both by ocular assessment and with 
a herbage meter. 



18 




Figure 5. Measuring bank angle with a clinometer and a graduated 
measuring rod. 




Figure 6. 



Close-up view of the clinometer showing a bank angle 
measurement of approximately 45°. 



19 







Figure 7. Measuring overhanging vegetative cover with a graduated 
measuring rod. 




Figure 8. Close-up view of the graduated measuring rod showing a 

vegetative overhang measurement of approximately 1.7 feet. 



20 






Vegetation Analysis 



A cursory survey of the riparian vegetation was conducted in the 
Otter Creek study sites because of visual differences between site 1 and 
sites 2 and 3. This was not intended to be an exhaustive or statis- 
tically reliable survey; rather it was intended to give a good general 
picture of gross differences between the sites. 

Vegetation was assigned dominance visually and plant species were 
collected for later identification at Utah State University. 

Streamside Herbage Analysis 



In order to provide a quantitative complement to an ocular vege- 
tation use assessment, a Neal Electronics Model 18-2000 herbage meter is 
used to measure standing vegetation. These readings are taken at 
approximately every fourth transect, and linear regression analysis 
against clipped plots provides a quantitative measure of forage biomass 
and use. 

Fish Population Analysis 



Fish populations are sampled with battery powered, portable, 
backpack mounted electrofishers or with gasoline powered, motor en- 
ergized units (Figures 9 and 10) and electrofishing is performed using a 
four-step technique. Salmonids are counted, measured, and weighed, 
while non-salmonids are counted and weighed as a group. All are handled 
as carefully as practicable and promptly returned to the stream alive. 

The data are then statistically analyzed to determine mean lengths, 
weights, standing crops, and total biomass for each fish species, with 
the exception of mean length in the case of non-salmonids. The biomass 
data, together with the number of fish obtained in the four- step technique 
is used in a maximum- likelihood model to estimate the resident fish 
populations of each study site. 

Water Quality .Analysis 



This topic was not addressed in Progress Report 1 because it is not 
a regular component of our battery of measurements. It is being in- 
cluded in this report to assist in characterizing the aquatic and riparian 
environments of Otter Creek and to help with the analysis of our data. 

Data presented here were provided by David Young, Fisheries Biologist, 

USDI BLM, Sevier River Resource Area Office, Richfield, Utah and are on 
file in that office. The responsibility for application of these data 
to this study lies solely with the authors. Methods employed in the 
1977 survey can be found in Winget and Baumann (1977)—. 



g / 

— Winget, Robert N. and Richard W. Baumann. 1977. Macroinvertebrate 
and water quality- quantity survey of Otter Creek, Piute County, Utah. 
Unpublished report on file with USDI, BLM, Sevier River Res. Area, 
Richfield, Utah. 




Figure 9. Electrofishing Otter Creek with a motor-energiaed Coffelt 
WP electrofishing system. 




Figure 10. Stunned fish are captured in nets attached to the ends 
of the electrodes. 



77 







Hydraulic and Channel Geometry 



Ten transects in the central section of each 600-foot stream reach 
are used for hydraulic geometry measurement. The data obtained here 
allow us to generate a channel cross-section map. Periodic measurements 
over the course of the study show quantitative changes due to erosion 
and deposition of channel materials. The stakes are surveyed to detect 
changes in their relative positions, and the water surface is surveyed 
to allow monitoring of changes in channel gradient. 



RESULTS 

Geomorphic/Aquatic Analysis 

Results of the 1980 geomorphic/aquatic analysis of Otter Creek are 
presented in Table 2, and these results are displayed for comparison 
with 1979 results in Table 3. 

Water Column 



Continued observation of Otter Creek indicates that this stream is 
somewhat difficult to characterize. The stream in the treatment area is 
narrower than the two grazed areas upstream, but .somewhere between sites 
1 and 2 ground water recharge apparently occurs—; therefore, while 
narrower, the treatment site is also considerably shallower. In 1980, 
widths and depths were consistently greater than in 1979, a dif|grence 
which resulted from discharge of water from Koosharem Reservoir.— 

The increase in width was greatest in the treatment site, probably due 
to the fact that this area visually appears to have a wider, shallower 
channel than the upstream sites. The pool/riffle ratio in all sites 
increased slightly while pool quality ratings remained relatively 
stable; this is to be expected with the large, high quality pools that 
occur on Otter Creek. 

Streambanks 



Bank-water contact zone characteristics were all lower in the 
treatment site than in the grazed sites, probably an additional result 
of the reduced channelization. As a result, the fisheries rating was 
also observed to be considerably less in site 1, though it was higher in 
all three sites in 1980 than in 1979. 



— ^Winget, Robert N. and Richard W. Baumann. 1977. Macroinvertebrate 
and water quality-quantity survey of Otter Creek, Piute County, Utah. 
Unpublished report on file with USDI, BLM, Sevier River Res. Area, 
Richfield, Utah. 

— We waited several days after the flow began to recede to minimize 
this bias; nevertheless, the effects on several geomorphic/aquatic 
variables are clear. 



Table 2. — 1980 Geomorphlc/aquat lc 
ti I ({it I f leant difference 



and riparian means ulth tlielr 95 percent confidence Intervals, 
(|*<0.05) between treatment and combined control means. 



Otter Creek, Utah. An asterisk <*) denotes a 



Variable 



Site 1 

Mean Interval 



Site 2 

Mean Interval 



S ite 3 

Mean Interval 



Overall 

Mean Interval 






Ceomorphlc/Aquat Ic 



Stream Width (feet)* 

Stream Depth (feet)* 

Riffle Width (percent)* 

Pool Width (percent)* 

Pool Rating 

Bank Angle (degrees) 

Bank Undercut (feet) 

Bunk Water Depth (feet)* 
Substrate Embeddedness* 

Boulder (percent)* 

Rubble (percent)* 

Crave 1 (percent)* 

Fines > O.B nun (percent)* 

Fines <0.8 nun (percent) 
lustream Vegetative Cover (feet) 
Fisheries Rating* 



15.8 

0.87 

34.4 

65.6 
3.8 

114 

0.24 

0.31 

3.1 

0.0 

0.3 

78.6 

0.1 

21.1 

3.1 

3.2 



Rlpurlan 



Bunk Cover Stability* 

Stream Cover 
Hub It at Type* 

Vegetation Utilization (percent) 
Bank Alteration-Natural (percent)* 
Bank Alteration-Artificial 
(percent ) 

Vegetative Overhang (feet)* 



2.9 

2.0 

14.6 

0 

15 

12 

0.41 



14.9 


- 


16,7 


0.75 


- 


0.98 


26.6 


- 


42.2 


57.8 


- 


73.4 


3.5 


- 


4.1 


106 


-122 


0.16 


- 


0.32 


0.16 


- 


0.46 


2.8 


- 


3.4 


0.0 


- 


1.5 


0.0 


- 


6.4 


72.2 


- 


84.9 


0.0 


- 


1.3 


13.2 


- 


29.0 


2.0 


- 


4.3 


3.0 


- 


3.4 



2.8 


- 


3.1 


2.0 


- 


2.1 


14.1 


0 


15.1 


14 


- 


17 


10 


_ 


14 


0.31 


- 


0.5 



16.8 


15.9 


- 17.7 


15.7 


14.8 


- 16.6 


16. 1 


15.6 




16.6 


1.41 


1.30 


- 1.52 


1.50 


1.39 


- 1.52 


1.26 


1.20 




1 . 32 


29.8 


22.0 


- 37.6 


2.3 


0 


- 10.0 


22.0 


17.6 




26.5 


70.2 


62,4 


- 78.0 


97.7 


90.0 


-100.0 


78.0 


73.5 


"* 


82 . 5 


4.6 


4.3 


- 4.9 


5.0 


4.7 


- 5.3 


4.5 


4.3 


- 


4.6 


98 


90 


-106 


79 


71 


- 87 


97 


92 


-102 


0. 39 


0.31 


- 0.47 


0.40 


0.32 


- 0.48 


0.34 


0.30 


- 


u. yj 


0. 75 


0.60 


- 0.89 


0.75 


0.61 


- 0.90 


0.60 


0.52 


“ 


0.69 


3.1 


2.8 


- 3.4 


1.5 


1.2 


- 1.8 


2.5 


2.4 


“ 


2.7 


3.4 


1.9 


- 4.9 


1.3 


0.0 


- 2.8 


1.6 


0.7 


~ 


2.4 


26.8 


20.7 


- 32.8 


11.8 


5.7 


- 17.8 


12.9 


9.4 


- 


16.4 


23.9 


17.6 


- 30.3 


13.3 


7.0 


- 19.7 


38.5 


34.8 




42.1 


2.3 


1.1 


- 3.5 


0.5 


0.0 


- 1.7 


1.0 


0. 3 


— 


1 . 7 


43.6 


35.8 


- 51.5 


73.1 


65.3 


- 80.9 


46.1 


41.6 


- 


50.6 


8.4 


7.2 


- 9.5 


11.3 


10.1 


- 12.4 


7.6 


6.9 


— 


8.3 


4.4 


4.2 


- 4.6 


4.8 


4.6 


- 4.9 


4.1 


4.0 




4.2 


3.4 


3.3 


- 3.6 


3.5 


3.4 


- 3.7 


3.3 


3.2 


- 


3.4 


2.0 


2.0 


- 2.1 


2.0 




i/ 


2.0 




ij 




15.1 


14,6 


- 15.6 


16.7 


16.2 


- 17.2 


15.5 


15.2 


** 


15.8 


0 




0 


0 




0 


0 




0 




8 


7 


- 9 


8 


6 


- 9 


10 


10 




11 


20 


17 


- 22 


25 


23 


- 27 


19 


18 


- 


20 


1.17 


1.07 


- 1.27 


0.90 


0.8U - 1.00 


0.83 


0.77 


- 


0.89 



-I Rounding to the tenths digit reduces Interval to zero. 



Table 3 .--Comparison of geomorphic/aquat Ic and riparian means for 1979 anJ 1980, Otter Creek, Utah 





Site 1 




Site 2 




Site 3 




Overal 1 


Variable 


1979 1980 


A 


1979 1980 


A 


1979 1980 


A 


1979 1980 



(ieomor|>hic/A(|tiat lc 



Stream Width (feet) 


11.9 


IS. 8 


♦ 3.9 


14.0 


16.8 


♦ 2.8 


14.5 


15.7 


+ 1.2 


13.5 


16. 1 


♦ 2.6 


Stream Depth (feet) 


0.72 


0.87 


♦ 0.15 


0.78 


1.41 


* 0.63 


0.92 


1.50 


+ 0.58 


0.80 


1.26 


♦ 0.46 


Hlffle Width (percent) 


46.6 


34.4 


-12.2 


38.3 


29.8 


- 8-5 


10.2 


2.3 


- 7.9 


31. S 


22.0 


- 9.5 


Pool Width (percent) 


S3. 4 


65.6 


*12.2 


61.7 


70.2 


+ 8.5 


89.8 


97.7 


♦ 7.9 


68.5 


78.0 


♦ 1.5 


Pool Rating 


3.7 


3.8 


* 0.1 


4.2 


4.6 


♦ 0.4 


4.9 


5.0 


♦ 0.1 


4.3 


4.5 


♦ 0.2 


bank Angle (degrees) 


118 


114 


- 4 


103 


98 


- S 


90 


79 


-11 


103 


97 


- 6 


Dank Undercut (feet) 


0.20 


0.24 


♦ 0.04 


0.21 


0.39 


♦ 0.18 


0.24 


0.40 


* 1.16 


0.22 


0. 34 


♦ 0.12 


bank Water Depth (feet) 


0.19 


0.31 


* 0.12 


0. 45 


0.75 


♦ 3.0 


0.96 


0. 75 


- 0.21 


0.54 


0.60 


♦ 0.6 


Substrate liinheddedness 


2.9 


3.1 


+ 0.2 


2.9 


3. 1 


+ 0.2 


1.8 


1.5 


- 0.3 


2.5 


2.5 


0.0 


boulder (percent) 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.6 


3.4 


♦ 2.8 


0.0 


1.3 


♦ 1.3 


0.2 


1.6 


♦ 1.4 


Rubble (percent) 


1.8 


0.3 


- l.S 


23.7 


26.8 


♦ 3.1 


9.6 


11.8 


♦ 2.2 


11.7 


12.9 


♦ 1.2 


Gravel (percent) 


79.4 


78.6 


- 0.8 


39.1 


23.9 


-15.2 


22.3 


13.3 


- 9.0 


46.8 


38.5 


- 8.3 


Pines >0.8 nun (percent) 


2.6 


0.1 


- 2.5 


2.8 


2.3 


- 0.5 


3.4 


0.5 


- 2.9 


2.9 


1.0 


- 1.9 


l'ines<0.8 mm (percent) 


16.2 


21.1 


♦ 4.9 


29.6 


43.6 


♦ 14.0 


63.7 


73.1 


♦ 9.4 


36.5 


46.1 


- 9.6 


lnslreani Vegetutlve Cover (feet) 


7.9 


3.1 


- 4.8 


8.9 


8.4 


- 0.5 


12.1 


11.3 


- 0.8 


9.7 


7.6 


- 2.1 


fisheries Rating 


2.4 


3.2 


♦ 0.8 


3.4 


4.4 


♦ 1.0 


3.9 


4.8 


♦ 0.9 


3.3 


4.1 


♦ 0.8 


Riparian 


























Dank Cover Stability 


2.9 


2.9 


0.0 


3.4 


3.4 


0 


3.3 


3.5 


+ 0.2 


3.2 


3.3 


♦ 0.1 


Stream Cover 


1.6 


2.0 


♦ 0.4 


1.9 


2.0 


♦ 0.1 


1.9 


2.0 


♦ 0.1 


1.8 


2.0 


♦ 0.2 


Habitat Type 


11.2 


14.6 


- 3.4 


13.7 


15.1 


- 1.4 


14.2 


16.7 


♦ 2.5 


13.0 


15.5 


♦ 2.5 


Vegetation Utilization (percent) 


0 


0 


0 


0 


0 


0 


0 


0 


0 


0 


0 


0 


bank Alteration - Natural (percent) 
bank Alteration - Artificial 


43 


IS 


-28 


23 


8 


-15 


24 


8 


-16 


30 


10 


-20 


(percent) 


0 


12 


*12 


0 


20 


♦ 20 


0 


25 


♦ 25 


0 


19 


♦ 19 


Vegetative Overhang (feet) 


0.31 


0.41 


♦ 0.10 


0 . 57 


1.17 


♦ 0.60 


0.27 


0.90 


♦ 0.63 


0. 38 


0.83 


♦ 0.45 



Stream Channel 



Substrate materials appeared to exist in the most favorable ratios 
within the treatment site. Gravel constituted the bulk of the surface 
sediments in this site and fine sediments were less abundant than in 
either of the two upstream sites. Rubble was most abundant in site 2 
where velocity is also greatest (Platts, Nelson, and Martin 1980) 
boulder was not abundant any where within the study area. None of the 
substrate materials have exhibited any extraordinary fluctuations, and 
those that have been observed may be due to the higher water level that 
existed when Otter Creek was observed in 1980. Substrate embeddedness 
has remained relatively stable, but instream vegetation, though abundant 
in Otter Creek, declined dramatically in site 1 while remaining es- 
sentially constant in the control sites. 

Riparian Analysis 

Results of the 1980 riparian analysis are displayed in Table 2 and 
1980 mean values are compared with those observed in 1979 in Table 5. 

The results indicate that the vegetal characteristics of treatment 
site 1 are considerably different from those of the other two sites. 

These differences are most clearly illustrated by the bank cover stability 
and habitat type rankings in both study years, by the 1979 stream cover 
rankings and by the vegetation survey results presented in the next 
section. The higher habitat, ratings in site 2 and 3 result from the 
greater prevalence of shrubs (see also Table 3) whereas the better bank 
cover stability indicates well vegetated banks; the increased channeli- 
zation in these two sites may have allowed better bank development. The 
increase in stream cover rating at site 1 in 1980 makes it appear similar 
to the other two sites, but this may be due to some flooding of the 
vegetation as a result of the increased water level. The more favorable 
vegetal overhang observed in the grazed sites also resulted from the 
greater abundance of brush in the two upstream sites. 

The treatment site appeared to exhibit approximately the same 
amount of bank alteration as the grazed sites, though slightly less of 
this alteration could be clearly attributed to artificial processes. 
Vegetation use could not be detected visually at the time of our sam- 
pling. 

Vegetation Analysis 

Results of the vegetation sampling performed in 1980 are presented 
in Table 4. They indicate that grass-like plants are well represented 
in all three sites, whereas actual grasses are conspicuously absent from 
site 1, but well represented in the two upstream sites. Forbs, on the 
other hand, are better represented in site 1 than in sites 2 and 3. In 
addition, site 1 has a wider, shallower channel structure with a wider. 



Table 4. --Dominant riparian vegetation, by site, of Otter Creek, Utah, 
1980. Plants are grouped into 3 categories: grasses, grass- 

like plants, and other vascular plants (forbs and shrubs). 



Site 1 



Site 2 



Site 3 



No grasses 



Juncus balticus 
Scirpus pungens 
Carex sp. 



Muhlenbergia asperifolia 
Poa junifolia 
Agropyron smithii 
Agrostis tenuis 
Hardeum jubatum 

Juncus balticus 
Scirpus pungens 
Carex nebrascensis 
Carex sp. 



Muhlenbergia asperifolia 
Poa junifolia 
Agrostis tenuis 
Hardeum jubatum 



Juncus balticus 
Scirpus pungens 
Carex sp. 



Barsia hyssopifilia 
Mentha arvensis 
Thermopsis montana 
Sonchus asper 
(Bull Thistle) 
Sysymbrium altissiumum 
Senecio integerrimus 



Glaux maritime 
Fragaria vesca 
Mentha arvensis 
Senecio integerrimus 
Thermopsis montana 



Glaux maritime 
Fragaria vesca 
Mentha arvensis 
Senecio integerrimus 
Thermopsis montana 



Number of species = 10 Number of species = 14 



Number of species = 12 



moister riparian zone than sites 2 or 3 (Figures 11 and 12) , which, in 
all characterisitcs , are much more similar to one another than to site 1 
This difference is borne out by the 1970 and 1980 riparian analyses 
(Table 5), which shows that for all riparian parameters, except vegeta- 
tive overhang in 1979 and stream cover in 1980, sites 2 and 3 are more 
similar to one another than they are to site 1. Willow is beginning to 
reestablish itself in the treatment area. 



Table 5. — Streamside herbage analysis linear calibration results: 
equation fits the form y=a+bs. 



Year 


Y- intercept 

(a) 


Regression 
Coefficient (b) 


Correlation 
Coefficient (r) 


Coefficient of-, 
Determination (r“) 


1979 


- 5.60 


2.16 


0.96 


0.91 


1980 


-19.85 


3.13 


0.91 


0 . 83 




Figure 11. The meandering structure and wide riparian zone of 

Otter Creek in site 1. The fenceline is at transect 61 
and streamflow is to the left. 




The narrow, deep channel structure and narrow riparian 
zone of Otter Creek in the upstream sites. The fence- 
line is at transect 122 separating site 2 [left) from 
site 3 (right) . 



Figure 12. 











Streamside Herbage Analysis 



Streamside herbage analysis was inadvertently not performed on the 
treatment area (site 1) in 1979, so no accurate potential biomass 
estimate was obtained in that year; therefore, for 1979 only actual 
biomass estimates are presented. The scatter diagram of data from the 
secondary sample and resulting calibration line are displaye^ in Figure 
13. The fit of this line to the data points is excellent (r =0.91), 
indicating that determination of riparian vegetation biomass from the 
primary sample based on this smaller sample (pooled from all three 
sites) can be expected to be sufficiently accurate for production and 
use estimation. The regression analysis data for the secondary sample 
are presented with the corresponding 1979 results in Table 5. 

It is apparent from the different regression coefficients that the 
vegetation sampled in 1980 was considerably different than that sampled 
in 1979. This is probably due to the fact that site 1 was not sampled 
in 1979 and, as has already been discussed, the riparian vegetation in 
that site is apparently different from the riparian vegetation in sites 
2 and 3, the only sites sampled in 1979. The decrease in the coef- 
ficient of determination may also be a result of these vegetal dif- 
ferences. 

Vegetation use is calculated from the difference between potential 
biomass determined from the treatment site and the remaining biomass in 
the grazed sites. This information plus the estimate by visual means is 
displayed in Table 6. 



Table 6. Estimated streamside herbage biomass and vegetation use from 
primary sampling by year, Otter Creek, Utah. 





Potential 
Biomass (lb/acre) 


Remaining 
Biomass (lb/acre) 


Vegetation 
Use (percent) 


Visual 

Estimate 


Use 

(percent) 


Year 


(Site 1) 


Site 2 


Site 3 


Site 2 


Site 3 


Site 2 


Site 3 


1979^ 


N.D.—/ 


4,783 


4,400 


N.A.-/ 


N.A. 


0 


0 


1980 


11,445 


10,785 


9,544 


6 


17 


0 


0 



— Those familiar with Progress Report 1 will note differences in these 
data; these data are corrected values. 

— N.D. - No data 

— N.A. - Not available 



29 



CHELN WEIfJIT (jins) 



420 -i 




Figure 13. 



Scatter diagram and linear calibration line derived from the 
herbage analysis secondary sampling in 1930, Otter Creek, Utah. 



30 



As suggested previously, biomass is shown to have been considerably 
reduced when sampled in 1979 over the 1980 sample. This is largely a 
result of the more advanced phenological stage of the plants when sampled 
in 1979. The herbage meter estimates of use are greater than the visual 
estimates, presumably because the meter can show differences in biomass 
that cannot be detected by the eye. While site 1 may not be vegeta- 
tionally comparable to sites 2 and 3, there does appear to be a pro- 
duction difference between sites 2 and 3, possibly due to resting of 
site 2 in 1980, that is not visually apparent. This may be due to 
differences in grazing or natural differences in plant composition, and 
further study will be required before valid conclusions can be made in 
this regard. 

Fish Population Analysis 

Results of the 1980 fish population analysis are presented in Table 
7 and compared with 1979 results in Table 8. Considerably more trout of 
each species were collected in 1980 than in 1979, with the largest 
increase in the brown trout populations. There was little difference in 
size of rainbow trout between years, but brown trout in the control 
sites (2 and 3) were considerably smaller in 1980. Both of these dif- 
ferences may have resulted from the stocking program; therefore, little 
can be inferred about trout distributions and population dynamics until 
we can eliminate this source of bias. No non-game species were col- 
lected in 1980. 

Water Quality Analysis 



Water quality surveys were conducted on Otter Creek in August of 
1976 and 1977 and data are presented in Table 9. This table presents 
the 1977 data in two ways, an average of the 6 samples collected over an 
8 mile stretch of stream (which includes the exclosures) and the data 
for sampling site 6 which was located near the single sampling site of 
1976 (T29SR1W, Section 18; at the fenceline). For a listing of the 1977 
data by. sample site, the reader may wish to refer to Winget and Bauman 
(1977)— { 



Hydraulic and Stream Channel Geometry 



Hydrologic surveys were not conducted in 1980, so the reader may 
wish to refer to Progress Report I for information on the 1979 cross- 
sections. 



— Winget, Robert N. and Richard W. Bauman. 1977. Macroinvertebrates 
and water quality-quantity survey of Otter Creek, Piute County, Utah. 
Report on file with USDI,, BLM, Sevier River Resource Area Office, Rich- 
field, Utah. 



31 



Table 7. — 1930 fish population analysis for Otter Creek, Utah. 
Resource Area, Richfield, Utah (9/13/30). 


Data collected 


and provided by USDI-SLM, 


, Sevier 


River 


Species/ 
Study Site 


Total No. Population 

Collected Estioate 


951 

C.I. 


Mean 

(in) 


Length 

(mm) 


Mean 

(ot) 


Weight 

(ga) 


Standing Crop 
(•/ft 2 ) (•/» 2 ) 


Rainbow Trout 


















Site 1 
Site 2 
Site 3 
Overall 


17 17 

18 IS 

3 3 

44 44 


17- 19 

18- 20 
8-9 

44-47 


5.1 

7.7 

3.1 

6.7 


128. S 

195.7 

206.8 
171.2 


1.0 

3.1 

5.7 

2.4 


23.7 

88.6 

106.0 

68.2 


0.0018 

0.0018 

0.0008 

0.0009 


0.019 

0.019 

0.009 

0.0015 


Brown Trout 


















Site 1 
Site 2 
Site 3 
Overall 


14 14 

33 98 

39 59 

148 171 


14-14 

87-109 

57-67 

1S7-18S 


10.1 
6.7 
7.2 
- ■“> 


255.4 

171.4 
183.7 
183.6 


6.9 

2.7 

3.3 

3.3 


196.6 

75.4 

92.4 
92.7 


0.001S 

0.0082 

0.0063 

O.OOSl 


0.016 

0.088 

0.067 

O.OSS 


Table 3.-1979 and 1980 fish collections results compared 


by year and 


study 


site. Otter Creek, Utah. 






Species/Variable 


Site 1 

1979 1930 


Site 

1979 


2 

1980 




Site 

1979 


3 

1980 


1979 


Overall 

1980 



Rainbow Trout 



Total Catch 
Population Estimate 
Mean Length (in) 

On) 

Mean Weight (ot) 

(fa) *> 
Standing Crop ( # /fO 
(»/■*) 



10 


17 


10 


17 


6.4 


5.1 


162.7 


128. 3 


4.2 


1.0 


118.9 


28.7 


0.0014 


0.0018 


0.015 


0.019 



6 13 

6 18 

7. S 7.7 

199.0 19S.7 

4.3 3.1 

122.4 S3. 6 

0.0007 0.0013 

0.008 0.019 



s 


8 


s 


3 


9.4 


S.l 


237.3 


206.8 


6.S 


3.7 


19S.1 


106.0 


0.0006 


0.0008 


0.009 


0.009 



21 


44 


21 


44 


7.5 


6.7 


190.9 


171.2 


4,3 


2.4 


138.1 


68.2 


0.0009 


0.0015 


0.009 


0.016 



3rown Trout 

Total Catch 
Population Estioate 
Mean Length (in) 

(nan) 

Mean Weight (ot) 

(gm) ■ 2 
Standing Crop (*/£t ) 
(»/»') 



6 


14 


6 


14 


10.2 


10.1 


260.3 


2SS.4 


7.4 


6.9 


210.9 


196.6 


0.0008 


0.0015 


0.009 


0.016 



12 


S3 


12 


98 


11.4 


6.7 


290.3 


171.4 


10.1 


2. / 


289.0 


75.4 


0.0014 


0.0082 


0.015 


0.088 



3 39 

3 39 

11.4 7.2 

239.1 133.7 

10.7 3.3 

306.6 92.4 

0.0009 0.0063 

0.010 0.067 



26 


148 


26 


171 


11.1 


7.2 


283.2 


183.6 


9.7 


5.3 


276.4 


92.7 


0.0011 


0.0051 


Q. 012 


O.OSS 



32 



Table 9. — Water quality characteristics of Otter Creek, Utah, from 1976 and 1977 
surveys. The 1976 data was obtained from a single sample while the 
1977 average was obtained from 6 samples; the 1977 site 6 data was 
obtained from approximately the same location as the 1976 sample (T293 
R1W, Section 18). 



Character 


1976^ 


Site 6 


Average 


Temperature (°C) 


19.0 


— 


— 


T.D.S. (mg/1 8 180°C) 


— 


192 


194 


pH 


— 


8.73 


8.64 


Conductance (^umhos/cm @ 25°C) 


344 


319 


516 


Total Alkalinity (mg/1 CaCO,) 


153 


141 


137 


Total Hardness (mg/1 CaCO,) 


130 


116 


115 


Carbonate (mg/1 CO,) 


— 


10 


7 


Bicarbonate (mg/1 HCO^) 


186 


153 


151 


Ammonia (mg/1 N) 


— 


0.01 


0.01 


Boron (mg/1 B) 


100 


— 


— 


Calcium (mg/1 Ca) 


35 


30 


29 


Chloride (mg/1 Cl) 


13 


11 


11 


Fluoride (mg/1 FI) 


0.5 


— 


— 


Hydroxide (ml/1 OH) 


— 


0.1 


0.1 


Magnesium (mg/1 Mg) 


11 


10 


10 


Nitrate (mg/1 NO,) 


— 


0.05 


0.05 


Phosphate (mg/1 Ortho P) 


0.01 


0.003 


0.003 


Potassium (mg/1 K) 


5.1 


4 


4 


Silica (rag/1 Si) 


42 


— 


— 


Sodium (mg/1 Na) 


24 


18 


18 


Sulfate (mg/1 SO^) 


10 


8 


7 



— ^Analysis by USDI Geological Survey, Central Laboratory, Denver, Colorado and 
on file with USDI BLM, Sevier River Resource Area Office, Richfield, Utah. 

— ^Analysis by Brigham Young University Environmental .Analysis Laboratories, 
Provo, Utah and on file with USDI BLM, Sevier River Resource Area Office, 
Richfield, Utah; and reported in Winget, Robert N. and Richard W. Bauman. 

1977. Macroinvertebrates and water quality-quantity survey of Otter Creek, 
Piute County, Utah. Report on file with USDI, BLM, Sevier River Resource 
Area Office, Richfield, Utah. 



JO 



Little can be inferred directly from these water quality data, 
except that Otter Creek contains warm, nutrient -poor, moderately hard 
water. The 1977 values are somewhat lower than the corresponding 1976 
values in every case, but whether this is due to real decreases in the 
variables, sampling error, or natural fluctuations is unclear since the 
changes are all relatively small. None of the characters can be said to 
be stressing to the Otter Creek game fish populatigns at the levels q 
observed; although the indicated temperature of 19 C is above the 13 C 
optimum for rainbow trout reported by McKee and Wolf (1971) , it is 
within healthy limits. 



CONCLUSIONS 

After only two seasons of data collection and grazing treatment, it 
is difficult to interpret the effects on Otter Creek and its riparian 
zone of the established grazing system used on the South Narrows Allot- 
ment (winter and spring allotment-wide continuous) relative to the 
grazing systems in the exclosure. Additional complications result be- 
cause of the dramatic vegetational and physical differences that exist 
between site 1 (where grazing is totally excluded) and site 5 (upstream 
control sites where grazing continues) and also because of the highly 
artificial character of Otter Creek that results from mans' manipulation 
of waterflow and fishery management practices. At this point, our data 
indicate that Otter Creek responds slowly to management changes because 
of water flow control and streambank soil conditions. This increases 
the time period of rehabilitation under improved management practices 
but may also slow the deterioration that could occur under improper 
management. The established grazing system, with vegetation use occur- 
ring principally during the winter, appears to have few deleterious 
effects on riparian vegetation production; this coupled with the slow 
responses of the system has apparently slowed degradation of Otter 
Creek. 

We cannot yet determine if the complete rest and alternate year 
grazing strategies that are being studied are producing the desired 
results; only additional long-term observations will allow such conclu- 
sions to be made. The funds spent by the BLM in this long-term study 
may be more effectively spent on another study area where there are 
fewer confounding influences. We suggest that the BLM carefully evaluate 
the two progress reports we have prepared in the light of these con- 
siderations to determine whether the Otter Creek study is likely to 
provide the answers needed by management. Out recommendation is to 
terminate this phase of the study and approach the same questions in an 
area that has better potential for producing viable results. 



34 



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